If an introvert zones out and seems “rude” when you’re talking to them, it probably has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
It’s no secret that some people think introverts are boring or have nothing much to offer in a conversation or as general company. We’re either “too quiet” or “not interesting” enough. But it takes time for an introvert to fully open up and show you their “normal” side.
Below, I will list some things we introverts do that can come off as “rude,” but really are unintentional. I would know, because I am indeed guilty of doing some — if not, all — of these things. (So please forgive me.) And I hope these seven tips help clarify some misconceptions about introverts while giving you a better understanding of them and how they function.
7 Unintentionally ‘Rude’ Things Introverts Do
1. They zone out. (Sorry.)
Have you ever been in a conversation with an introvert and at some point noticed that they seemed spacey, almost like they lost touch with what’s around them? I can tell you off the bat that no, it’s not because of you, you’re not boring. As a fellow introvert, I can say that this can happen for many different reasons.
For one, sometimes we simply have a lot going on internally and just get caught up in our overthinking thoughts. We may be rehearsing what to say in response to what you’re saying, or thinking about something we already said (that we wish we would not have).
Or, if the conversation is small-talk-based, it’s not our forte, so it may seem like we’re disinterested. (Again, we’re not — we just prefer deeper talk.)
Another thing to consider is, how long has this conversation been going on? If it’s gone past a certain point, it can indicate that an introvert’s social battery has begun to run out. It’s never about you, trust me. Sometimes our minds just wander.
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2. They may seem standoffish (but they just need to get to know you better).
Speaking to an extrovert doesn’t take any effort at all, I think we can all agree. You ask them any question and they’re able to turn it into a very elaborate answer, because naturally, they’re good at talking and self-expression. But don’t get me wrong — introverts are great at speaking, too… when we have something to say.
But if we’re not completely comfortable with you yet, we may remain quiet. In that case, most of our responses to questions will be short and sweet, as we’re not yet ready to reveal ourselves completely. This is where we are mistaken as being cold or standoffish, sometimes even offending others who are trying to get to know us. Once again, it is nothing personal — it’s about us, not you.
3. They disappear for days at a time.
You may have that one friend who goes MIA for days, sometimes weeks at a time — even months in more extreme cases. This is one of the many indicators that you are dealing with an introvert. As you may know, introverts usually thrive on alone time, which is much needed for their sanity, especially after they exhaust their social battery.
Situations that take up a lot of our energy usually need to be followed with a recovery period. That can mean hiding away from the world for as long as we can by not answering messages or hiding out for a period of time until we feel ready to come out again. It is never intended to be cruel, but more of a crucial way for us to protect and restore our energy.
4. They appear uninterested or unexpressive.
Since we aren’t known to openly express ourselves as much as extroverts, sometimes we introverts are accused of not seeming interested enough or not having the “right” reaction to something. And, to be fair, I can see how it may not help that we may not smile as often as people would like or expect.
Although I can assure you: What you assume is disinterest on our face is just our natural resting expression that hinders any emotions from showing. What our faces can’t express I guarantee you’ll either pick up from our vibe, our body language, or directly from our spoken words. When in doubt, observation is key.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
5. They frequently turn down plans.
Ah, that friend who just never seems to want to hang out whenever you try to make plans, making you question your friendship. Let me stop you there. As I mentioned earlier, introverts can only use up so much of their social battery — key word, social battery — and may find staying home more ideal than going out all the time.
That is not to say that introverts never go out. But, more often, we will be very strategic when deciding on when to accept plans. It all depends on how much energy we have available, the place of choice — preferably less crowded ones that are introvert-friendly — and who the invite is from. For close friends, chances are we’ll try to be more accommodating, but with certain considerations in mind, like who’s going, where we’re going, and so on.
6. They act secretive — they’re not an open book.
Earlier, I mentioned how introverts can come off as standoffish. As a result, I think people can view us as secretive, as they think we intentionally withhold information. While I can certainly agree that we’re private people, I can guarantee it is for the right reasons and not because we’re intentionally keeping secrets.
We cherish our energy and it is a big deal when we allow others into our lives, something so close and personal to us. Which is why we are always careful about the things we share about ourselves, especially when we’re not fully acquainted with someone yet. It already takes a while for us to fully open up in general, but with a little patience and trust, there’s a lot to uncover.
7. They seem arrogant.
Sometimes, introverts get mistaken for being arrogant. Think back to that quiet boy or girl you had in your class or workplace who never seemed too worried about being involved in what was going on and usually hung out alone. I’m here to tell you they weren’t being arrogant or aloof — at least not intentionally.
They don’t think they’re “better” than anyone else. As I stated earlier, introverts have wandering minds. We don’t purposely try to set ourselves apart from a group — we just have a habit of daydreaming and getting lost in our thoughts a good chunk of the time. Trust me, our goal is not to make a statement and draw attention to ourselves. That’s the last thing we want.
You might like:
- 6 Things Your Office Introvert Does That Might Seem Rude, But Aren’t
- Introvert: I’m Not Being Rude, I’m Just Being Quiet
- 7 ‘Rules’ for Sensitive Introverts to Protect Their Energy
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